Cinder by Marissa Meyer Novel

Review: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Blurb

Cinder by Marissa Meyer NovelA forbidden romance.
A deadly plague.
Earth’s fate hinges on one girl . . .

CINDER, a gifted mechanic in New Beijing, is also a cyborg. She’s reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s sudden illness. But when her life becomes entwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she finds herself at the centre of a violent struggle between the desires of an evil queen – and a dangerous temptation.

Cinder is caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal. Now she must uncover secrets about her mysterious past in order to protect Earth’s future.

This is not the fairytale you remember. But it’s one you won’t forget.


I love the idea of a fairy-tale retelling and the stories original take on the story was intreiging. I thought it was fantastic that Cinder and one of the sisters had a geniune bond. this added depth the complexety of the families situations.


Review

I award this novel 3.5/5 stars

From the first chapter we’re introduced to the concept of the deadly virus, the prince’s determination to find a solution, Cinder’s difficulties as a cyborg and the prejudices she faces. I was instantly hooked.

I loved the clever twist on the shoe that only fits her and how that played a part in the final scenes.

This is going to sound ridiculous, but I was shocked to discover the existence of a lunar race and how they impacted the story. Yes, the set is called The Lunar Chronicles so I should have anticipated it. It seemed to come out of nowhere, but played a huge role in the story. Perhaps I missed a vital bit of foreshadowing in the first chapter, there was already a lot going on.

The city of New Beijing was incredibly detailed; it was full, vibrant, noisy, chaotic, and hot. It would be a nightmare destination for someone like me. Give me an empty beach in the middle of winter and I’m happy. That being said, the palace with its cherry blossom trees and lanterns was beautifully detailed.

Cinder’s and Kai’s blooming relationship was believable and engaging. I was eager to read their story and how they’d eventually get together.

Queen Lavana was a flat character, hell bent on world domination. She’s already overthrown her own predecessor and now wants planet earth. But why? Being evil and desiring power was all I got from her.

I’d already read and reviewed Heartless by Marissa Meyer. I had great expectations for this novel. Unfortunately, the story’s ending was a huge let down. Romance novels have a certain expectation, but Cinder and the prince did not get together. I understand it’s a hook for the rest of the series, but not fulfilling a stories plot is one of my pet peeves. Romantic involvement or romantic sacrifice is a must. It annoyed me so much that I’m considering boycotting the rest of the series. Hence the low rating.

Author Lorraine Ambers - YA fantasy romance writer

As always, thanks for reading.

Have you read the rest of the series? Is it worthwhile continuing?

I love your comments, so please tell me what you thought of the book.

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© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2018.
Creating a Logline for a Novel, The Perfect Pitch

Logline and the Perfect Pitch

Previously we’ve covered how to write a Synopsis and How to Hook an Agent. Why not take a look? In future post’s we’ll uncover Crafting a Novel Title and Writing Book Blurbs. This week we’re taking a closer look at Loglines.

As a writer I’m good with written words, but not so much when it comes to talking about my project. And I’m not alone, many writers flounder when asked the dreaded question; ‘What are you working on?’ or ‘What’s your book about?’

How to craft a Novel Logline and the Perfect Pitch

I cringe when thinking about my many long-winded blunders. They had little to do with my work and more about me clutching at something to say. I remember the life-light drifting from their eyes as I waffled on, knowing that we were both thinking – that sounds bloody awful.

This is where a Logline comes in. Or elevator Pitch, the name comes from the notion that the pitch should be succinct enough to be delivered to another party while riding an escalator. In essence, it is the quick presentation, outlining the idea for your novel. Usually one sentence, and spoken in around 30 seconds.

That’s quite a feat, to deconstruct a whole novel and narrow it down to its barebones. And there’s more. The Logline has a duty to perform. To engage our interest, evoke emotion by introducing the stakes. To introduce our written world, and pluck at the potential reader’s emotions.

Within the pitch, the following elements must be incorporated.

  • Protagonist – this is where you need to get creative. Instead of character names, give descriptions like: vengeful fairy, disabled cop or workaholic mum.
  • The protagonist goal – what does your main character want to achieve?
  • Conflict – the antagonistic force. What is your character fighting against?

Creating a Logline for a Novel, The Perfect Pitch

A great idea is to read Logline for movies on IMDB. Here are two of my most recent favourite movies.

Black Panther: T’Challa, the King of Wakanda, rises to the throne in the isolated, technologically advanced African nation, but his claim is challenged by a vengeful outsider who was a childhood victim of T’Challa’s father’s mistake.

Thor Ragnarok: Thor is imprisoned on the other side of the universe and finds himself in a race against time to get back to Asgard to stop Ragnarok, the destruction of his homeworld and the end of Asgardian civilization, at the hands of an all-powerful new threat, the ruthless Hela.

Practice your amazingly crafted logline in front of a mirror, then on your pets, kids, partner, best friend and anyone who will listen. Gauge their responses, if you get the glazed look perhaps it’s time for a tweak. Otherwise, congratulations you’ve conquered the dreaded Logline!

Here’s mine; do you think I’ve added the three elements? Is it intriguing or should I head back to the drawing board? I’d love your feedback.

Knights of Shadow and Lies: A telepathic Fae princess and clandestine guard race against the fall of the blood-moon, to save a goddess from a manipulative Magician before he attains control over the Enchanted Realms.

Author Lorraine Ambers - YA fantasy romance writer
© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2018.

Review: The Witch’s Kiss

Hi everyone, I’m back with another review, this one is a young adult, fantasy/ romance novel. My favourite genre – it should be, I write it. The book was written by sister’s Elizabeth and Katherine Corr, an intriguing collaboration. I have to say; I love the cover, it’s a great addition to my Instagram #bibliophile feed.

 Blurb

Novel The Witch's Kiss Young Adult Fantasy Romance

 

Sixteen-year-old Meredith is fed-up with her feuding family and feeling invisible at school – not to mention the witch magic that shoots out of her fingernails when she’s stressed. Then sweet, sensitive Jack comes into her life and she falls for him hard. The only problem is that he is periodically possessed by a destructive centuries-old curse.

Meredith has lost her heart, but will she also lose her life? Or in true fairytale tradition, can true love’s kiss save the day?

 


I rate this novel 3.5 star out of 5

Meredith or Marry as she likes to be known is a teenager with untrained powers that she’s misused and abused. What Marry doesn’t know about is the curse she’s inherited.

Things are happening in the once quiet town of Tillingham. The streets are no longer safe, people are been attacked and it’s only a matter of time before someone’s killed.

For Gwydion the magician and his King of Hearts slumber under the lake. But their curse has started to wear off. The Saxon witch’s couldn’t defeat them; instead they enchanted them to sleep until a strong witch was born. A witch who’d finally end Gwydion’s reign of terror.

Book Petals Love Writing Novel Author Lorraine Ambers

What I liked.

I liked Merry’s older brother Leo, he was protective and a great ally throughout the story. He made a warm, loving companion. I loved the introduction to Jake. At first through her dreams and the thrilling way they met. To begin with, Merry fought the curse and her powers, they frightened her. It allowed her character to be pulled through the unthinkable. To emerge stronger on the other side, it was realistic and well timed.

The authors wove in several fairy-tales throughout the novel, but created a unique storyline and characters. The backstory of the Saxon witches and how Gwydion came to be so evil, added depth to the story. I became completely engrossed in those sections of the book. Immersed in life at the castle, the little farming village, and Meredith’s Saxon hut with the rough ground and flickering fire. Those scenes were vivid with great pacing and plot.

I anticipated the ending to be predictable but the outcome was not what I’d anticipated. It climaxed in a cinematic way, with both Merry and Leo committed to helping each other.

Debut Novel NA fantasy Author Lorraine Ambers Beta Reader

What I did not like.

I found it frustrating that Leo had no powers. The witch clan dismissed him because he was male, without apology or explanation. Why couldn’t he have powers? Especially as, besides Merry, he was the only other person able to read the scroll.

The pace of the story slowed right down in the middle. The pattern became repetitive and slow with Merry and Leo meeting Jake at the lake, and stopping the King of Hearts. The writing became more telling than showing. I found it hard to immerse myself into their world. It made me wonder about the author’s collaboration, because I got the distinct impression that certain areas of the book was better written.

The mum was neglectful and cold, I took an instant dislike to her and was unwilling to warm again when she was given the opportunity to explain and reform herself. Boo!

Jake and Marry started off so well but fizzled out like a poorly lit bonfire. I wanted more from Jake and Merry relationship. I was underwhelmed. Somehow the reader is supposed to believe they love each other. When did that happen? Yes, Marry is fond of him. Obviously has a giant crush on him, but I didn’t witness any development of something more.

Author Lorraine Ambers Web-Banner YA fantasy book review romance

Over all, I’m glad that I persisted with the novel, because truth be told, I almost gave up. Great for fans of Young Adult, fantasy’s based around myth and fairy-tales, with romance that doesn’t always end happily-ever-after.

Thanks for reading. Have you read the Witch’s Kiss? What did you think of the novel?

 

YA fantasy romance Author Lorraine Ambers Desk Beta Readers

Working with Beta Readers

Getting our writing critiqued is a vital learning process for writers. Through feedback, authors can mould their novel into a piece of work that’s coherent and has marketable appeal. Beta Reader’s response can help to judge which part of your book will work for your audience and those that may not.

I’ve wanted a Beta Reader for quite some time, but had no idea of how to go about it. Can we rely on our family and friends to be honest? Probably not, I tend to sugar coat things for those I care about.

How do we find Beta Readers?

Blogger Ari Meghlem recently asked this question on Facebook. Reaching out on social media is a great way of finding Beta Readers. It’s daunting. It requires bravery and a little common sense.

Finding the right reader is a vital first step. There’s no point in asking someone to read your genre if they don’t like it. Their feedback will be less than helpful. Ask questions and build a relationship. Your ideal reader should be similar to your target audience.

Debut Novel NA fantasy Author Lorraine Ambers Beta Reader

Here are my 3 tips for working with your Beta Reader.

 

Give Guidance

Develop a list of questions that you’d like answered. These might be about plot, pacing, strength of character, or the organisation of the stories concept. Your checklist should meet the specific needs of each book you write. As a great starting point for question inspiration, go check out some of my ideas on these Pinterest boards.

Learnt to love negative feedback

Not everyone will like your work. So you shouldn’t revise your book based entirely on one person’s perspective. Gaining different points of views can help pinpoint the areas that need working on. And as hard as it can be, ask yourself: Will addressing the issues make your book better? Sometimes accepting the truth hurts, but that’s how we grow and learn. So remember to thank your beta readers, and embrace their feedback.

Return the Favour

Offer to work in tandem with your BETA reader. Or consider returning the favour at a later date. By reading someone else’s work you can gain experience at reading with a critical eye. This will be invaluable when editing your own WIP.

I want to say a huge warm thanks to Ari for agreeing to beta read my first novel, her feedback so far has been fantastic. You can read Ari’s previous guest blog post Here.

Thanks for reading my post. Do you have any tips on working with beta readers? If so, please share.

Author Lorraine Ambers Web-Banner YA fantasy book review romance

 © Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2016.

 

The Ocean at the End of the Lane Neil Gaiman

Review of The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

This fantastic book was lent to me by a wonderful bookshop owner in my home town. He has a particular fondness of fantasy novels and has dedicated a large bookshelf to that genre. I was surprised to find I’d already read a considerable amount off of that shelf. I found in his collection The Hobbit by J.R. Tolkien and snapped up the copy.

The bookshop guy didn’t have any Neil Gaiman’s books in store to sell. But he happily lent me his copy of The Ocean at the end of the lane. So, thank you kind bookshop owner. He made my day with his generosity, for lending me a novel that I’m sure will stay with me until the end of time.

Blurb.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane Neil Gaiman

It began for our narrator forty years ago when the family lodger stole their car and committed suicide in it, stirring up ancient powers best left undisturbed. Dark creatures from beyond this world are on the loose, and it will take everything our narrator has just to stay alive: there is primal horror here, and menace unleashed – within his family and from the forces that have gathered to destroy it.

His only defense is three women, on a farm at the end of the lane. The youngest of them claims that her duckpond is an ocean. The oldest can remember the Big Bang.

My review.

This novel is awarded 5 stars

The ocean at the end of the lane by Neil Gaiman is a flashback to a childhood of forgotten memories. It’s beautiful, gritty and evocative. Highly imaginative, with gripping tension that captured my attention from start to finish. I devoured this book within a day.

A friend of mine said, ‘I love Neil Gaiman, the only problem with his books is that they’re too short. I wish he’d write bigger books.’

I’d have to agree. The story was creative beyond my wildest imaginings but grounded with its possibilities. From myth to fable, Gaimen tips his hat to great literature and all done through the eyes of a seven-year-old.

Even though the novel is portrayed through a young character, I felt honored to recollect the vivid imaginings and scary possibilities of being vulnerable and at the mercy of adults. I think that’s what resonated most with me.

I’m set on having all of Gaiman’s novels for my collection. My local bookshop is set to become one of my favorite places. The only trouble is, where am I going to keep all my books. I’ll add a library/office to my wish list.

Author Lorraine Ambers Web-Banner YA fantasy book review romance

What author have you discovered that surprised and delighted you? Do you have a story of random kindness? Share them with me – I’d love to hear about it.

Hope you’re all enjoying your summer. 🙂

© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2017.
A court of Mist and Fury Fantasy Romance Author

Review – A court of Mist and Fury.

A court of Mist and Fury Fantasy Romance Author

Feyre struggles with what she endured under the mountain. Worse is Tamlin’s controlling behavior in a bid to ensure her safety and his lack of empathy for all she’s been through.

Feyre is mollycoddled, paraded like a trophy in front of the Courts but ignored. She’s suffocating in this new world. Until Rhysand arrives, calling in his end of the bargain.

Prythian is revealed in a rainbow of colors, vibrancy and life. All is not as it seemed in the spring court. With her new fae body, Rhysand helps Feyre discover her hidden powers enabling her to become whole once more.

In this novel Feyre grows from a young girl with only romantic ideas of love and begins to bloom into the woman she is truly meant to become. I love how Feyre and Rhysand’s relationship is harsh, gritty and full of teasing.

The introduction of new characters deepens the world. Enriching the story, filling it with a complex structure. The plot expands, growing seamlessly from book one without leaving unfinished business.

(Manipulating me into the next story is my pet peeve. Sure leave a subtle twist or a few teasers but for the love of god, complete the story that was set out in book one.) Thankfully Sarah J. Maas does not do that. She’s a goddess in my opinion. I’m a huge fan girl of hers.

Sarah J. Mass tore my heart out and left me grieving for her world. I was desperate for the next installment but couldn’t risk my obsessive nature. I have a tendency to live in the fantasy realm. I have a family. I’ve promised myself that once my second novel is complete, I’ll delve back into her world. I can’t wait to meet Rhysand again. He’s my all time favorite book boyfriend.

Author Lorraine Ambers Web-Banner YA fantasy book review romance

© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2016.
The Magicians by Lev Grossman Review Fantasy Author

Review – The Magicians by Lev Grossman

The Magicians by Lev Grossman

Blurb.

The Magicians by Lev Grossman Review Fantasy AuthorIn a secret world of forbidden knowledge, power comes at a terrible price …

Quentin Coldwater’s life is changed forever by an apparently chance encounter: when he turns up for his entrance interview to Princeton he finds his interviewer dead – but a strange envelope bearing Quentin’s name leads him down a very different path to any he’d ever imagined.

The envelope, and the mysterious manuscript it contains, leads to a secret world of obsession and privilege, a world of freedom and power and, for a while, it’s a world that seems to answer all Quentin’s desires. But the idyll cannot last – and when it’s finally shattered, Quentin is drawn into something darker and far more dangerous than anything he could ever have expected …

Author Lorraine Ambers Banner

I award this novel 5 stars.

Review

Quinten is a mathematical genius. Though he’s the top of his class, Quinten feels as if he doesn’t quite belong, that perhaps he was meant for something else. (A feeling I’m familiar with.) Brakebells reveals a life that he was born to be part of. Inserting him in with other students of equal or better talents.

Not only is the story set in an urban fantasy setting but the novel also makes way for the introduction to Fillory. A world thought to be only an author’s creation, that later turns out to actually exist.

The magicians have a magic system with clear consequences for misuse and a unique way of performing the spells by using finger signals. I loved the distinctive performance of casting magic.

The plot drives a suspenseful and engaging momentum. Lev Grossman writes a dark and addictive fantasy, with entertaining and inspirational descriptions. A smart and gripping view of complex relationships. Whilst delving into the experiences of new adulthood. With amusing pop culture references, that bring well-developed characters to life.

The young adults experiment with the excitements of magic and life, giving into impulses and crashing into the fallout of their consequences.

The Magicians is the first in a trilogy and has been made into a successful TV series. I highly recommend bingeing on both.

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© Author Lorraine Ambers & http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2016

Review – A Court of Thorn and Roses by Sarah.J.Maas

Review of A Court of Thorns & Roses by Sarah. J. Maas

Blurb

Review YA fantasty romance Sarah J Maas Author Lorraine AmbersFeyre’s survival rests upon her ability to hunt and kill – the forest where she lives is a cold, bleak place in the long winter months. So when she spots a deer in the forest being pursued by a wolf, she cannot resist fighting it for the flesh. But to do so, she must kill the predator and killing something so precious comes at a price …

Dragged to a magical kingdom for the murder of a faerie, Feyre discovers that her captor, his face obscured by a jeweled mask, is hiding far more than his piercing green eyes would suggest. Feyre’s presence at the court is closely guarded, and as she begins to learn why, her feelings for him turn from hostility to passion and the faerie lands become an even more dangerous place. Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse, or she will lose him forever.


This novel features heavily in my Instagram feed. As an author of YA fantasy, I’d noticed Sarah. J.Mass book’s splashed across the shelves of my local library and bookstores.

My real interest started when I researched fantasy romances to compare my work to and this novel kept popping up. Rightly so, after finishing the novel I wanted to start from scratch and immerse myself in Feyre’s world. It’s no wonder Sarah J.Maas is in the top running for best fantasy literature. It’s a pleasure to read a book and learn from an artist. But more than that, it’s a thrill to read and only see the world open before you, with no qualms over their writing. It seems that’s the unfortunate side effect of becoming an author, I judge everything I read.

Author Lorraine Ambers Banner

I award this novel 5 stars.

Perfect for lovers of high fantasy and swoon-worthy romance.

I was introduced effortlessly, to the world of humans, fae’s and their laws. To the forgotten faith and war that previously ravaged the lands. Feyre is forced to provide for her family. Without her hunting, her family would starve. Whilst tracking a deer, she makes a decision that will change the course of her life.

The author takes fae myth and tips it on its head. Revealing them to Feyre as mysterious and noble, but not all the stories were a lie, the lands are perilous and deadly.

The beginning of the novel had a similar storyline to Beauty and the Beast. But Feyre is no Bella. The story unfolds into a vivacious world with fantastic characters.

I loved how the story gripped me from beginning to end. So much so , that i immediately ordered the sequel and pre-ordered the third instalment of the trilogy. The plot and subplots were tied up. (You must know by now, that that is my biggest pet-peeve.) With a tantalising hint of what to expect in book 2.

And even though this book is all about Feyre and Tamlin, I must admit, I turned to the dark side for Rhysand. His charm, cunning and clear interest in Feyre was enthralling.

What I hated: The week-long book hangover that followed this masterpiece. I am officially a fan girl of Sarah J. Maas.

 Author Lorraine Ambers Web-Banner YA fantasy book review romance

If you’re also a fan, stop by and say hello. Or if you loved this book and know of similar romance fantasies, then please let me know. I can’t get enough of them. Thanks for reading and have a great day. 🙂

© Author Lorraine Ambers & http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2016.
The Iron Queen Iron Fey series Julie Kagawa Lorraine Ambers review YA fantasy romance

#Review The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa

The Iron Queen (The Iron Fey Book 3) by Julie Kagawa

Book Blurb

The Iron Queen Iron Fey series Julie Kagawa Lorraine Ambers review YA fantasy romanceIn less than twenty-four hours I’ll be seventeen. Although, technically, I won’t actually be turning seventeen. I’ve been in the Nevernever too long.

When you’re in Faery, you don’t age. So while a year has passed in the real world, agewise I’m probably only a few days older than when I went in. In real life, I’ve changed so much I don’t even recognize myself. MY NAME IS MEGHAN CHASE. I thought it was over. That my time with the fey, the impossible choices I had to make, the sacrifices of those I loved, was behind me. But a storm is approaching, an army of Iron fey that will drag me back, kicking and screaming. Drag me away from the banished prince who’s sworn to stand by my side. Drag me into the core of conflict so powerful, I’m not sure anyone can survive it.

THIS TIME, THERE WILL BE NO TURNING BACK.

Author Lorraine Ambers Banner

I award The Iron Queen 5 stars

This is book 3 of the Iron Fey and my favourite out of the series. Julie’s stories are similar to my own in regards to the retelling of faery tales. The good pace and immediate action, hold the reader captivated from start to end. Her books echo the epic, fantasy element of my own work, which is what interested me in the first place.

Megan Chase is a great character with a strong internal voice that carries us through the book. In this story she learns to fight, wanting to hold her own in battle and not rely on the strength of Ash or her best friend Puck. She also needs to master her powers that are a contradiction to each other, the power of the iron and summer.

What I loved: The banter between Ash and Puck, it kept the obvious rivalry for Megan interesting and not at all tedious. In this novel, Ash and Megan’s relationship is beautifully interwoven into the story. It was the perfect blend of romance in an epic tale. Ash is silent and lethal yet his affection for Megan is genuine. I swooned over this male. Oh my!!

The worlds have an Alice in Wonderland feel. In particular the Trods and Grimalkin, who reminded me of the Cheshire Cat. Grim has realistic animal mannerisms. He exudes the aloof, smugness of a cat. Coming and going as he pleases. (Just like my Jaspurr.)

I loved the unusual and unique realms; they were beautiful and richly described. The premise of the Iron fey is original and a great concept in relation to the whimsical more traditional faery. in myth the fey are afraid of iron, Julie created a world where the iron Fey were born from the growing use of machines. Gremlins and bugs clash with the winter and summer courts, all lurking behind our world, disguised by glamour.

What I disliked: This book is too similar to book 1, The Iron King. The plot and battle are virtually identical down to the settings. Although, I think The Iron Queen is intricate and alluring. The final battle scene was melodramatic and boring. I must admit, I skipped forward a paragraph or two until the event was over.

With that being said, I actually started with book 3 and bought the whole series. That’s how invested I was in the characters and their journey. I was dying to know how Megan and Ash met and what will happen to them. I haven’t read The Iron Knight yet… So many books, so little time.

A fantastic read for fans of faerie fantasy that is firmly rooted in the realm of believably. With great characters and spectacular realms full of magic and wonder. It’s not at all like the Disney Tinkerbell movies. Yes, I’ve watched them all (with my kids).

Author Lorraine Ambers Web-Banner YA fantasy book review romance

© Author Lorraine Ambers & http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2016.